Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ending, Beginning or Middle - Part 2

Yesterday's post ended with verse 7 of Psalm 116.  "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you"

That is quickly becoming a favorite verse for me.  Breathe it in deep, let it feel every cell of your being.  It feels like being served warm cocoa with extra marshmallows.

I'm so excited to share these thoughts with you.  God's word is so alive and I just get all revved up to talk about Him.  So, here we go!

March 7, 2013
Psalm 116: 8

8. For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death,   Until Christ's triumphant return we will all have a physical death.  But Jesus has delivered us from the death of our soul.  The body is temporary - the really important part is the soul.  my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. As my body weakens there are so many tears and stumblings, but God is faithful.. He will not abandon me, He is always there to steady my step.

12.  How can I repay the Lord for the goodness He has shown to me? His peace, strength and provision through this struggle has never wavered.  Even when my faith faltered He remained faithful.   It is a debt I could never repay.  

 13. I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.  14.  I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.  As an answer to the question in verse 12, this is how God wants to be "repaid" for His goodness to me.  He wants me to worship Him, praise Him and speak of Him to all people. It is my hope that I fulfill the vows that I made as a new Christian.  God desires my worship and praise.  I will speak His name to all people!

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  Ok, I had to do some thinking on this verse.  I had to look up several commentaries.  According to my study notes it means the death of his saints are "carefully watched over".  Barnes' commentary says "the act of removing a servant from the world is an act of deep deliberation on the part of God and not taken lightly."  Woo! Does that hit anybody else like it does me?  I guess I've always thought since God is all knowing that our death was really no big deal to him.  It happens so often, every day, all over the world.  I kind of pictured it like the check out at a grocery store.  As we leave earth we are put on the conveyor belt thing and roll our way to the front where we get scanned.
beep...beep...beep...beep.  Sorry, if that was insensitive.  Does anybody thing about things the same way I do?  

I hope you've enjoyed this peek into my devotional journal.  It is my intention to post as often as I can.  There will be days that I will not feel up to the task.  Thanks for taking this journey with me.

Blessings abound, just look around!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ending, Beginning or Middle?

Is it the beginning of an end or the end of a beginning or maybe the middle of neither.

I have been literally fighting for my life for almost four and one half years.  My doc has thrown every drug at me that has a chance of slowing this speeding train called cancer.  Some have worked, some have not.   Once a treatment stops working or is found to not work at all it is marked off the list.  I'm at the bottom of my list.

Cancer and the attempt to demolish it has taken a toll on my physical being.  I don't recognize myself and some of the side effects I have endured have made me think my body has been taken over by aliens.  I am thankful that God gave me a sense of humor to help me get through some of these very odd occurrences.

While my physical being is becoming a stranger to me, I find myself spending more time in my soul.

I have been promising (or threatening) to share the writings from my personal devotion time.  God spoke volumes to me through Psalm 116 for several days in early March.  Since that time I have returned to these verses time and again.  In sharing this with you, I hope it will encourage and bless you.  I will break it down into separate days.  So, today is installment one.  Scripture is in bold, my thoughts in italics.

March 6, 2013
Psalm 116: 1-7

1. I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. 2. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.  I cried out to God during my cancer diagnosis and again even louder and more desperate when I was diagnosed as terminal.

3.  The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by my trouble and sorrow.  4.. Then I called on the name of the Lord; "O Lord, save me!"  When I sought out His face and  cried out to Him, He heard me.  The Almighty God of the Universe heard me...a sinner, someone with no power, fame or great talent...He heard me.  

5. The Lord is gracious and righteous, our God is full of compassion.  6.  The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.  God is ALL gracious, ALL righteous and ALL compassion, only God can be ALL of those ALL the time.  In my time of need he is there to scoop me up, dust me off and stand me upright again.

7.  Be at rest, once more, O my soul for the Lord has been good to you.  Even though I know God is with me, sometimes my human nature rears its ugly head and I feel that I am falling back into desperation.  Daily I need to recall vs 7.

Be at rest, once more, O my soul for the Lord has been good to you.

Today, I pray that you know the gracious, righteous, compassionate King of Kings.



Friday, April 5, 2013

I See the Moon, the Moon Sees Me

God's faithfulness - pure joy for those who believe His word and rely on His promises, despair for those who doubt His word and defy His warnings.

One evening while traveling back home from a visit with my daughter, God gave me an object lesson on His faithfulness.

 I had noticed how the moon was big and bright.  I commented on it as we left my daughter's driveway.  I attributed it's brightness to the rural area where she and my son-in-law live.  As my husband and I made it on to the interstate the moon was framed perfectly in my passenger side window.  I was totally mesmerized!  It was relaxing to lean back and stare at the moon.  For a while I was lost in my thoughts, just me and the moon.  Suddenly an embankment came between me and the moon.  Like a child playing peek-a-boo I was startled that my moon had disappeared and then delighted at it's reappearance as we passed the hill.  Admittedly, I felt a little foolish about this, but my moon was back so I just kept starting...literally staring into space.  Soon we came upon another hill, this time I knew the moon would reappear when we passed the hill.  I'm a quick learner.  :-)  As the landscape changed more things came between me and my moon.  Sometimes it was partially hidden, sometimes I was watching through trees and then BAM it was back in clear view.

Slowly a sweet feeling came into my spirit.  Just like the moon was ushering me home that night, the presence and love of God is ushering me home.  Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by His presence that I can't take my eyes away.  Other times I let earthly things block my view.  I let doubts and insecurities block out the love and steadfastness of God.  He gently leads me away from those earthly woes and my soul claps with delight when I see that He is still there - big and bright and beautiful, more than able to see me through to His Promised Land.

Thank you God for your faithfulness!

Numbers 23:19

"God is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent; hath he said, and will he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and will he not make it good?  (American Standard)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's All Small Potatoes

I sit here this morning with amazement at how God moves in all things.  The big, fat, hairy, scary things and the little bitty things.  He is in all of them.  In preparation to post I gathered the necessities.  My bible, laptop, iPad (because truthfully, I can't do anything without my iPad), cup of coffee, my $5 reading glasses and the notes I had written several days ago.  Those notes were going to become today's post.  But God has other plans for today.  I believe the notes are still relevant and God willing, I will share them another day.

A couple of verses jumped in my lap this morning and decided to sit awhile.  They are familiar verses and I have become friendly with them over the past four years.  Today they changed their tone a little and came at me from The Message translation.  I have made a hobby out of comparing translations and it is quite the eye opening activity.  Anywho, I'm going to save you the trouble of finding The Message translation and share it with you right down here....

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

"So we're not giving up.  How could we!  Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.  These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us.  There's far more here than meets the eye.  The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.  But the things we can't see now will last forever."

We all have problems, issues, situations...crises!  No matter the size of the problem, if we have allowed God to come into our life, He is doing a mighty work through our issues. If you are going through something, God is making something new in your life.  Life on earth is hard.  Eternal life is glorious.

I read the book, "Heaven is For Real", about the little boy who went to heaven and then came back to his earthly home.  He described how everything was better and how the colors were brighter.   Imagine the most beautiful day you've experienced here and then magnify it by eternity!  Think of the brightest birds in red, yellow and blue and then turn up the volume.  Think of the worst heartache you have ever experienced and remember that eternity with God will make that pain fill like small potatoes compared to His glory!

Today I hope you find God's grace and mercy in all the big and small potatoes.